Review of Hack Education

Audrey Watters is an education technology writer who maintains the blog Hack Education. Her articles have appeared on Mindshift, Inside Higher Ed, The School Library Journal, The Atlantic, and more (Hack Education, 2013.) In her own words, Hack Education is blog that is “smart and snarky, one that’s free of advertising and investor influence…, one that’s tracking new technologies but not just because of some hyperbolic ‘revolution.’” (Hack Education, 2013.)

This blog is intended for everyone interested in how technology relates to the classroom, teaching, and learning.

Watters has followed tech-ed trends for the past few years; the 2013 and 2012 lists are displayed on the front page of the blog. These include MOOCS (on both years’ lists) and Anti-MOOCS, the Maker and Learning to Code Movements (both years). Added to the 2013 trends list are standards and standardization; data, privacy, and “personalization”, and; the rise (and fall) of startups.

MOOCs have blown up across the globe, especially within the last year. A quick search of articles on The Chronicle of Higher Education online for “MOOC” returns 441 results, 331 from within the past year, and the first of which is about MOOCs in France. Watters reports on articles from every side of the MOOC debate – the pro- and anti- and ambivalent. The latest post on the blog also deals with MOOCs, reassuring us that they are not, in fact, dead, but may be moving in the direction of corporate training.

Another 2013 is Standardization. Watters writes about “common core” often, in fact it has been in her annual trends list since 2010 when it was created. Common Core provides a single set of K-12 standards in math and language arts and has been adopted by 45 states (Hack Education, 2013) (not surprisingly, my current state of Virginia is not one of them.) It remains on the trend list again this year most likely because in 2014 the first assessments will become available.

In addition to writing about education and education technology, Watters refers readers to “news elsewhere” or articles of interest on the web. They may or may not relate to education or technology, and include such items as vaccine deniers, student privacy, the problem with easy access to information, and more. She also includes information on her book, Teach Machines: The Drive to Automate Education, which she plans to self-publish in late 2013 or early 2014.

Lastly, Watters offers a 3 part ed-tech guide (part 3 coming soon) which attempts to bridge gaps between technologists, educators, and learners.

In all, this is a comprehensive and sometimes irreverent look at education technology that is useful for anyone interested in the future (and the present) of education.
References

Hack education. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2013, from http://hackeducation.com/

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